Alpha-synuclein is a neuron-specific protein that contributes to the pathology of Parkinson's disease via mitochondria-related mechanisms. The present study investigated possible interaction of alpha-synuclein with mitochondria and consequences of such interaction. Using SHSY cells overexpressing alpha-synuclein A53T mutant or wild-type, as well as isolated rat brain mitochondria, the present study shows that alpha-synuclein localizes at the mitochondrial membrane. In both SHSY cells and isolated mitochondria, interaction of alpha-synuclein with mitochondria causes release of cytochrome c, increase of mitochondrial calcium and nitric oxide, and oxidative modification of mitochondrial components. These findings suggest a pivotal role for mitochondria in oxidative stress and apoptosis induced by alpha-synuclein.